There have been many greats in the game of college football. Those players made a name for themselves, and their name will be carried on for decades or even centuries to come. One of the best ways to be remembered is to set records and for Iowa State defensive end Will McDonald IV, he’s within reach of breaking one.
Entering his final year in Ames, Will sits with 29 career sacks. He’s already Iowa State’s career sacks leader and now is just five short from breaking the Big 12 career sacks record held by Texas A&M’s Von Miller (33).
It’s been quite the journey for the former 3-star recruit from the state of Wisconsin. He committed to Iowa State back in early 2017 before his senior season began. Will put on some weight and recorded his first sack on September 29th, 2018, against TCU. He then followed that up with a good 2019 season with five sacks. But 2020 was the year he became a superstar.
By the end of that season, Will McDonald IV led the Big 12 in sacks with 10.5. If not for his teammate Mike Rose having a year of a lifetime, Will would have been the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year that season. Despite not winning the award, he still earned first team All-Big 12 honors.
Will followed up a spectacular 2020 campaign with an even better year in 2021. Last season, he broke his own single season record with 11.5 sacks. Just like the year prior he could have easily won Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, but he was edged out by Baylor’s Jalen Pitre.
Despite not being named Defensive Player of the Year, Will McDonald IV has proved to be a force to be reckoned with. He’s gotten better each year and now is on a path to become the Big 12’s all-time career leader in sacks.
Many thought that Will would leave after the 2021 season to pursue a career in the NFL, but he didn’t. In fact, he announced weeks before their bowl game last December that he would be returning to Iowa State. “I am coming back for my senior season to ensure I am the best player I can possibly be before I go to the NFL,” he wrote on Twitter. “I am coming back for my senior season to help Cyclone football sustain success. I am coming back for my senior season to hear Cyclone nation rise up on 3rd down a few more times.”
Now Will McDonald enters his final season in a Cyclone uniform. He comes in as a preseason first-team All-American. The expectations are there and if he can stay healthy for the 2022 season, then there is no doubt in my mind that the Big 12 will have a new career sack leader. When will it happen? I am not sure but what I am sure of is that Will McDonald IV is going to hear that roar of Cyclone nation on third down and an even bigger one once he breaks the record.